Languages

Topbar Menu EN

Publication
Unlocking the sustainable potential of land resources: Evaluating systems, strategies and tools

Published by: UNEP


About

Better matching of land use with its sustainable potential is a “no-regrets” strategy for sustainably increasing agricultural production on existing land, targeting restoration efforts to where they are likely to be most successful, and guiding biodiversity conservation initiatives. Land potential is defined as the inherent, long-term potential of the land to sustainably generate ecosystem services. This report provides an introduction to land potential evaluation systems, strategies and tools necessary to implement this strategy. It provides information that both private landowners and policymakers can use to increase long-term productivity and profitability, while at the same time addressing global objectives defined through land-related Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly 15.3 (land degradation neutrality).

View online / download

External Link

Links to external publications on the SDG Library are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by the SDG Fund or the UN of any of the products, services or opinions of the corporation, organization or individual. The SDG Fund or the UN bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.


General Information

SDGs Goal 15: Life on land
Published
2016
Thematic Area
Sustainability
Array ( [#theme] => field [#weight] => 0 [#title] => External Link URL [#access] => 1 [#label_display] => hidden [#view_mode] => full [#language] => und [#field_name] => field_external_link [#field_type] => text [#field_translatable] => 0 [#entity_type] => node [#bundle] => publication [#object] => stdClass Object ( [vid] => 3590 [uid] => 1990 [title] => Unlocking the sustainable potential of land resources: Evaluating systems, strategies and tools [log] => [status] => 1 [comment] => 1 [promote] => 0 [sticky] => 0 [nid] => 1449 [type] => publication [language] => en [created] => 1483219876 [changed] => 1487886822 [tnid] => 0 [translate] => 0 [revision_timestamp] => 1487886822 [revision_uid] => 1 [field_sdgs] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [target_id] => 249 [entity] => stdClass Object ( [vid] => 955 [uid] => 1 [title] => Goal 15: Life on land [log] => [status] => 1 [comment] => 1 [promote] => 0 [sticky] => 0 [nid] => 249 [type] => sdg [language] => en [created] => 1450140180 [changed] => 1474166998 [tnid] => 249 [translate] => 0 [revision_timestamp] => 1474166998 [revision_uid] => 1 [field_icon] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [fid] => 328 [uid] => 1 [filename] => E_SDG_Icons_NoText-15.jpg [uri] => public://E_SDG_Icons_NoText-15.jpg [filemime] => image/jpeg [filesize] => 48011 [status] => 1 [timestamp] => 1450140180 [type] => image [field_file_image_alt_text] => Array ( ) [field_file_image_title_text] => Array ( ) [rdf_mapping] => Array ( ) [metadata] => Array ( [height] => 466 [width] => 466 ) [alt] => [title] => [height] => 466 [width] => 466 ) ) ) [field_body] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] =>

Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Human life depends on the earth as much as the ocean for our sustenance and livelihood. Plant life provides 80 percent of our human diet, and we rely on agriculture as an important economic resource and means of development. Forests account for 30 percent of the Earth’s surface, providing vital habitats for millions of species and important sources for clean air and water; as well as being crucial for combating climate change.

Today we are seeing unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate. Drought and desertification is also on the rise each year, amounting to the loss of 12 million hectares and affects poor communities globally. Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 percent are extinct and 22 percent are at risk of extinction.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to conserve and restore the use of terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, drylands and mountains by 2020. Promoting the sustainable management of forests and halting deforestations is also vital to mitigating the impact of climate change. Urgent action must be taken to reduce the loss of natural habitats and biodiversity which are part of our common heritage.

Conserving forests and other ecosystems is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 15.

[format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

Human life depends on the earth as much as the ocean for our sustenance and livelihood. Plant life provides 80 percent of our human diet, and we rely on agriculture as an important economic resource and means of development. Forests account for 30 percent of the Earth’s surface, providing vital habitats for millions of species and important sources for clean air and water; as well as being crucial for combating climate change.

Today we are seeing unprecedented land degradation, and the loss of arable land at 30 to 35 times the historical rate. Drought and desertification is also on the rise each year, amounting to the loss of 12 million hectares and affects poor communities globally. Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 percent are extinct and 22 percent are at risk of extinction.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to conserve and restore the use of terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, drylands and mountains by 2020. Promoting the sustainable management of forests and halting deforestations is also vital to mitigating the impact of climate change. Urgent action must be taken to reduce the loss of natural habitats and biodiversity which are part of our common heritage.

Conserving forests and other ecosystems is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 15.

) ) ) [field_the_sdgf_work] => Array ( ) [field_icon_with_text] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [fid] => 329 [uid] => 1 [filename] => E_SDG_Icons-15.jpg [uri] => public://E_SDG_Icons-15.jpg [filemime] => image/jpeg [filesize] => 60297 [status] => 1 [timestamp] => 1450140180 [type] => image [field_file_image_alt_text] => Array ( ) [field_file_image_title_text] => Array ( ) [rdf_mapping] => Array ( ) [metadata] => Array ( [height] => 466 [width] => 466 ) [alt] => [title] => [height] => 466 [width] => 466 ) ) ) [field_the_sdg_fund_response] => Array ( ) [field_targets] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] =>
  • By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
  • By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
  • By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world
  • By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development
  • Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
  • Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed
  • Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products
  • By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species
  • By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
  • Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation
  • Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities
[format] => full_html [safe_value] =>
  • By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
  • By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
  • By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world
  • By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development
  • Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
  • Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed
  • Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products
  • By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species
  • By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts
  • Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems
  • Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation
  • Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities
) ) ) [field_sdg_targets_headline] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => Goal 15 targets [format] => [safe_value] => Goal 15 targets ) ) ) [rdf_mapping] => Array ( [rdftype] => Array ( [0] => sioc:Item [1] => foaf:Document ) [title] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:title ) ) [created] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:date [1] => dc:created ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) [changed] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:modified ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) [body] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => content:encoded ) ) [uid] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:has_creator ) [type] => rel ) [name] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => foaf:name ) ) [comment_count] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:num_replies ) [datatype] => xsd:integer ) [last_activity] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:last_activity_date ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) ) [name] => sysadmin [picture] => 0 [data] => a:2:{s:7:"contact";i:0;s:7:"overlay";i:1;} ) [access] => 1 ) ) ) [field_thematic_area] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [target_id] => 56 [entity] => stdClass Object ( [vid] => 4671 [uid] => 1 [title] => Sustainability [log] => [status] => 1 [comment] => 1 [promote] => 0 [sticky] => 0 [nid] => 56 [type] => thematic_area [language] => en [created] => 1421393790 [changed] => 1499981249 [tnid] => 56 [translate] => 0 [revision_timestamp] => 1499981249 [revision_uid] => 1 [body] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] =>

The concept of long term sustainability of development programmes is constantly evolving.

The SDG Fund definition involves:

  1. Inclusion and participation in programme initiatives within the vision of a Human Rights-based approach
  2. Economic use of resources in programme implementation
  3. Sustainability of programme achievements after termination of activities
  4. Mainstreaming environment and climate change in development programmes

For our programmes integrating sustainability requires an analysis of the governance architecture and the different stages of the programme cycle. At the national level, this could include the formulation of national policies, long term and multi-year development plans, sectoral budgetary allocation processes, and regulatory processes. At the level of projects on the ground, climate change adaptation considerations might need to be factored within specific elements of the project cycle.

As an example, a key element to mainstreaming climate change is the use of a climate lens. The following criteria are essential elements to be observed:

  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project under consideration could be vulnerable to risks arising from climate variability and change
  • The extent to which climate change risks have already been taken into consideration
  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project could inadvertently lead to increased vulnerability and maladaptation or miss important opportunities arising from climate change

The following publications offer useful guidance for introducing environmental sustainability and climate change sensitivity into development programmes:

See also this list of references from the UNFCCC on how to mainstream climate change into development programming.

[summary] => [format] => full_html [safe_value] =>

The concept of long term sustainability of development programmes is constantly evolving.

The SDG Fund definition involves:

  1. Inclusion and participation in programme initiatives within the vision of a Human Rights-based approach
  2. Economic use of resources in programme implementation
  3. Sustainability of programme achievements after termination of activities
  4. Mainstreaming environment and climate change in development programmes

For our programmes integrating sustainability requires an analysis of the governance architecture and the different stages of the programme cycle. At the national level, this could include the formulation of national policies, long term and multi-year development plans, sectoral budgetary allocation processes, and regulatory processes. At the level of projects on the ground, climate change adaptation considerations might need to be factored within specific elements of the project cycle.

As an example, a key element to mainstreaming climate change is the use of a climate lens. The following criteria are essential elements to be observed:

  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project under consideration could be vulnerable to risks arising from climate variability and change
  • The extent to which climate change risks have already been taken into consideration
  • The extent to which the policy, plan, or project could inadvertently lead to increased vulnerability and maladaptation or miss important opportunities arising from climate change

The following publications offer useful guidance for introducing environmental sustainability and climate change sensitivity into development programmes:

See also this list of references from the UNFCCC on how to mainstream climate change into development programming.

[safe_summary] => ) ) ) [field_short_description] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => Embedding sustainable principles in all our projects and ensuring long-term development gains. [format] => [safe_value] => Embedding sustainable principles in all our projects and ensuring long-term development gains. ) ) ) [field_icon_class] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => fa fa-recycle [format] => [safe_value] => fa fa-recycle ) ) ) [field_subtitle] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] =>

Embedding sustainable principles in all our projects and ensuring long-term development gains

[format] => filtered_html [safe_value] =>

Embedding sustainable principles in all our projects and ensuring long-term development gains

) ) ) [field_image] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [fid] => 8 [uid] => 1 [filename] => Nicaragua-environment-woman-at-well.jpg [uri] => public://Nicaragua-environment-woman-at-well.jpg [filemime] => image/jpeg [filesize] => 137912 [status] => 1 [timestamp] => 1449239930 [type] => image [field_file_image_alt_text] => Array ( ) [field_file_image_title_text] => Array ( ) [rdf_mapping] => Array ( ) [metadata] => Array ( [height] => 1183 [width] => 1600 ) [alt] => [title] => [height] => 1183 [width] => 1600 ) ) ) [field_type] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => crosscuting_issue ) ) ) [field_paragraphs] => Array ( ) [rdf_mapping] => Array ( [rdftype] => Array ( [0] => sioc:Item [1] => foaf:Document ) [title] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:title ) ) [created] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:date [1] => dc:created ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) [changed] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:modified ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) [body] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => content:encoded ) ) [uid] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:has_creator ) [type] => rel ) [name] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => foaf:name ) ) [comment_count] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:num_replies ) [datatype] => xsd:integer ) [last_activity] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:last_activity_date ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) ) [path] => Array ( [pathauto] => 1 ) [name] => sysadmin [picture] => 0 [data] => a:2:{s:7:"contact";i:0;s:7:"overlay";i:1;} ) [access] => 1 ) ) ) [field_downloads] => Array ( ) [field_delivering_as_one] => Array ( ) [field_country_entity] => Array ( ) [field_body] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => Better matching of land use with its sustainable potential is a “no-regrets” strategy for sustainably increasing agricultural production on existing land, targeting restoration efforts to where they are likely to be most successful, and guiding biodiversity conservation initiatives. Land potential is defined as the inherent, long-term potential of the land to sustainably generate ecosystem services. This report provides an introduction to land potential evaluation systems, strategies and tools necessary to implement this strategy. It provides information that both private landowners and policymakers can use to increase long-term productivity and profitability, while at the same time addressing global objectives defined through land-related Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly 15.3 (land degradation neutrality). [format] => [safe_value] => Better matching of land use with its sustainable potential is a “no-regrets” strategy for sustainably increasing agricultural production on existing land, targeting restoration efforts to where they are likely to be most successful, and guiding biodiversity conservation initiatives. Land potential is defined as the inherent, long-term potential of the land to sustainably generate ecosystem services. This report provides an introduction to land potential evaluation systems, strategies and tools necessary to implement this strategy. It provides information that both private landowners and policymakers can use to increase long-term productivity and profitability, while at the same time addressing global objectives defined through land-related Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly 15.3 (land degradation neutrality). ) ) ) [field_year] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => 2016-01-01 00:00:00 [timezone] => America/New_York [timezone_db] => America/New_York [date_type] => datetime ) ) ) [field_publication_keywords] => Array ( ) [field_publisher] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => UNEP [format] => [safe_value] => UNEP ) ) ) [field_region] => Array ( ) [field_thumb] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [fid] => 1999 [uid] => 1 [filename] => _Unlocking_the_sustainable_potential_of_land_resources_Evaluating_systems,_strategies_and_tools-2016Unlocking_Land_Resources_full_report.pdf-1.jpg [uri] => public://_Unlocking_the_sustainable_potential_of_land_resources_Evaluating_systems,_strategies_and_tools-2016Unlocking_Land_Resources_full_report.pdf-1.jpg [filemime] => image/jpeg [filesize] => 258650 [status] => 1 [timestamp] => 1487886807 [type] => image [field_file_image_alt_text] => Array ( ) [field_file_image_title_text] => Array ( ) [rdf_mapping] => Array ( ) [metadata] => Array ( [height] => 841 [width] => 595 ) [alt] => [title] => [height] => 841 [width] => 595 ) ) ) [field_featured] => Array ( ) [field_file_fr] => Array ( ) [field_file_ar] => Array ( ) [field_file_pt] => Array ( ) [field_file_es] => Array ( ) [field_external_link] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/7710/-Unlocking_the_sustainable_potential_of_land_resources_Evaluating_systems,_strategies_and_tools-2016Unlocking_Land_Resources_full_report.pdf.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y [format] => [safe_value] => https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/7710/-Unlocking_the_sustainable_potential_of_land_resources_Evaluating_systems,_strategies_and_tools-2016Unlocking_Land_Resources_full_report.pdf.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y ) ) ) [field_external_link_text] => Array ( [und] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => External Link [format] => [safe_value] => External Link ) ) ) [rdf_mapping] => Array ( [rdftype] => Array ( [0] => sioc:Item [1] => foaf:Document ) [title] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:title ) ) [created] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:date [1] => dc:created ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) [changed] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => dc:modified ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) [body] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => content:encoded ) ) [uid] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:has_creator ) [type] => rel ) [name] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => foaf:name ) ) [comment_count] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:num_replies ) [datatype] => xsd:integer ) [last_activity] => Array ( [predicates] => Array ( [0] => sioc:last_activity_date ) [datatype] => xsd:dateTime [callback] => date_iso8601 ) ) [name] => Library Manager 1 [picture] => 0 [data] => a:1:{s:7:"contact";i:0;} [entity_view_prepared] => 1 ) [#items] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [value] => https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/7710/-Unlocking_the_sustainable_potential_of_land_resources_Evaluating_systems,_strategies_and_tools-2016Unlocking_Land_Resources_full_report.pdf.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y [format] => [safe_value] => https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/7710/-Unlocking_the_sustainable_potential_of_land_resources_Evaluating_systems,_strategies_and_tools-2016Unlocking_Land_Resources_full_report.pdf.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y ) ) [#formatter] => text_plain [0] => Array ( [#markup] => https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/7710/-Unlocking_the_sustainable_potential_of_land_resources_Evaluating_systems,_strategies_and_tools-2016Unlocking_Land_Resources_full_report.pdf.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y ) [#description] => Please enter the full URL, e.g. http://www.example.com [#printed] => 1 )